This virtual gallery features works created by students in the course Intensive Study in Botanical Illustration (PLHRT 3250, taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly) during the Spring 2020 semester. The course provides an opportunity for students to take a deep dive into advanced techniques, exploring diverse media such as pen and ink, watercolor, graphite and more.
Although students in the course this semester encountered the same struggles coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of campus as other students, they made a surprising and exciting discovery: Immersion in drawing and painting could offer solace, stress relief, and an antidote to the challenges of scattered concentration, as well as a break from the intensive time spent on Zoom.
The spirit of one student, Laura Kramer, is a great example: "It's weird to be wrapping up my first year at Cornell in my roommate's basement, especially without access to the art supplies I was supposed to pick up from home over Spring Break," she writes. "On the bright side, though, the plant life upstate is beautiful and I'm learning to adapt to the lack of fancy art supplies. My pieces featured here were done with a semi-broken fountain pen, some half-dried markers I found in my pencil case from middle school, and a set of kids' Crayola markers that my roommate found."
May we all be so resilient.
Plant Sciences '22
"Botanical illustration has been an amazing outlet to express my love and appreciation for nature. I've adored deeply observing the minute details of the natural world and doing my best to capture its remarkable beauty in a variety of mediums.
"Taking this class has been an incredible experience and through it I've attained proficiency in a skill I'd always dreamed of having, yet never thought to possess."
Selections from Shealyn's portfolio include:
- Trillim erectum (wake robin, watercolor)
- Muscari armeniacum (grape hyacinth, ink)
- Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern, watercolor, colored pencil and pen).
Visit Shealyn on Instagram: @shea_scribbles.
Industrial and Labor Relations '20
"My name is Sophie May and I am an aspiring amateur artist from Syracuse, N.Y. In the past, I have mostly focused my creative time on drawing and painting people, using acrylic paint, charcoal or drawing pencils and pens. This semester in Professor Eames-Sheavly’s Botanical Illustration course, I expanded my range of subjects to include the magical world of plants, and also experimented with some new artistic mediums, including watercolor painting and colored pencil illustration.
"It has been such an adventure stepping out of my comfort zone and looking around for new, beautiful subjects to paint and draw! These selections are some of my favorite pieces that I produced during the course."
Selections from Sophia's portfolio include:
- Garlic Mustard Root (pen)
- Crab Apple Blossom (pen and colored pencil)
- Unidentified Plant Stalk (charcoal).
Plant Science '22
"I'm currently a sophomore with interests in horticulture and landscape architecture. Botanical illustration is a relaxing outlet for me, and helps me hone my observational skills and attention to detail."
Selections from Catherine's portfolio include:
- Allium cepa (Onion) - I really enjoyed the simplicity of this watercolor. Oftentimes I have a tendency to try to go big and detailed with watercolor subjects. But this simple onion is one of my favorites.
- Picea spp. (Spruce Cone) - I selected this spruce cone on a garden walk with my landscape architecture studio to get inspiration for a planting palette. But it also ended up inspiring this illustration. This spruce cone caught my eye and I knew I needed to illustrate it!
- Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak) - This is one of my more detailed scientific illustrations. I was really inspired by the different textures on the Bur Oak when I was drawing this.
Animal Science '21
"I'm an Animal Science major with a Botanical Illustration minor set to graduate in 2021. My drawings are a means to combine the sciences and art, something I hope to continue after college. Outside of my academic pursuits, I enjoy ceramics, farming, printmaking, wildlife rehabilitation and education, and printmaking."
Ashley's portfolio includes these pen and ink drawings:
- Weeding the Garden: Tap and Adventitious Roots
- Raphanus sativus (radish)
- Oyster Mushrooms on a Rotting Log
Viticulture and Enology '20
"I am a graduating senior in CALS with a passion for soil and growing things. Through this course I have rediscovered my old love of watercolor and found a new love for ink wash. I feel that these three pieces embody my growth in the course in my two favorite mediums. I think that this course has begun something in me that I will have for the rest of my life--a passion and an addiction for capturing the natural world and its fantastic forms through painting."
Gwen's portfolio includes three watercolors:
- Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus coccineus)
- Magnolia spp.
- Cattleya aclandiae orchid
Mechanical Engineering ’23
"It's weird to be wrapping up my first year at Cornell in my roommate's basement, especially without access to the art supplies I was supposed to pick up from home over Spring Break. On the bright side, though, the plant life upstate is beautiful and I'm learning to adapt to the lack of fancy art supplies. My pieces featured here were done with a semi-broken fountain pen, some half-dried markers I found in my pencil case from middle school, and a set of kids' Crayola markers that my roommate found."
Those pieces include:
- Magnolia stellata
- Fuschia spp.
- Hedera helix (English ivy)
"In addition to majoring in Entomology, I'm also pursuing a minor in Horticulture with a focus in botanical art. I have always enjoyed art as a medium of self-expression and find inspiration in the natural world. As a student in PLHRT 3250, I’ve found a lot of joy in creating art while also finding a better understanding of the plants themselves."
Sabrina's portfolio includes:
- Helianthus annuus - After a plant science lab, I was able to bring this sunflower back to my apartment. While it had not yet bloomed as I hoped it would at the time of drawing, I still enjoyed drawing the bright yellow of the petals that just barely started to peek out. It was especially fun depicting the lighting in this piece!
- Narcissus spp. - My favorite part of drawing this daffodil was showing the wrinkly, almost tissue paper like texture of the petals. I am a big fan of working with pen and ink, and the amount of detail that can easily be seen in the medium.
- Spathiphyllum spp. – This piece was challenging in that I had to think about depicting the white petals so that they were both true to color but still stood out against the white paper. I loved blending different colors together to get all the greens and yellows for the leaves of this plant.
Biological Sciences '21
"I am studying genetics and nutrition with hopes of entering a research career. I loved being a part of PLHRT 3250 because it beautifully intersects scientific observation and art."
Alizeh's portfolio includes:
- Verbascum and Hope - Verbascum flowers were historically used as a medicinal plant but have now come to symbolize courage, protection, and health. During these uncertain times, these values have become a priority and I wanted to convey a hopeful message about our circumstances and depict the growth that will surely come from all this.
- Rosa ‘Oregold’ hybrid – My mom’s favorite flowers are golden roses, so I made this piece for her. I really love the vibrancy of this piece.
- Helleborus oreintalis – Drawing this Lenten-rose in charcoal helped me understand how to depict different tones and values. The composition and dramatic essence of this illustration makes it one of my favorites.
Computer Science '20
"In addition to majoring in Computer Science I also minored in Horticulture. I've truly enjoyed taking courses in art over the course of my studies at Cornell, as they provide a really lovely contrast to the technical studies I take for my major. Over the duration of this course, I've learned to love ink and charcoal even though I had very little experience with them previously."
Lillie's portfolio includes:
- Pinecone (ink)
- Myosotis sp. (Forget Me Not, colored pencil)
- Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony, charcoal)